Little Black Dress circa 1970 Using McCalls 7802

I’ve begun to pray daily for the wisdom to make choices that help me to remain consistent in the face of pressure.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17 (NIV)

Hello Lovelies!

It’s another great week in Milwaukee, WI! Despite the drop in temperature and a few snow days, the sunshine has returned and overall the winter here has been mild. I’ll take it.

These last few weeks have been a little pressing as life as a single mom has been a bit hectic, but I am super grateful because this year I feel like God is really helping me to find balance through greater organization and self-care. I went back on my ketogenic diet plan. I talked a little bit about it on my Instagram stories earlier this week. I was pretty quiet about my keto journey and really didn’t talk about it to anyone outside of my immediate friend circle until earlier this week on my Instagram stories. I started my keto journey last year around the beginning of January and was pretty faithful to it. I lost about 20 pounds in 6 months. I’m still trying to get rid of at least another 30 pounds but I’m not in a rush.

I’m approaching this as a life style change. I’ve struggled with weight, food addiction and eating disorders my entire life. I’m at a point now where i’m exhausted and I just want to be healthy and balanced. Keto has helped me keep the inflammation in my body down, keep my sugar cravings in check and overall has blessed me with the energy that I need to keep up with my life . I started to make more time for the gym again and even joined my son’s Tae Kwon Do class to help with stress management.

It hasn’t been easy but God has been really showing me that life is about choices. I’ve begun to pray daily for the wisdom to make choices that help me to remain consistent in the face of pressure. The result is an Iris who frowns and complains less and trusts God and smiles more.

Which leads me to this week’s post. I smiled a lot while sewing this dress. I love, love, love vintage! I even have 2 great Pinterest boards for anyone who loves vintage that you can follow here and here . One is dedicated to vintage designer garments and another one is dedicated to vintage sewing patterns. Both are organized by decade so its easy to find the inspiration that your looking for.

Actually Mount Mary University has a great Archive dress collection that is so amazing! Some dresses date back to the late 1800’s. My draping class is making a visit on Monday to find inspiration for their final projects. I love going in there.

The inspiration for my came from 1970’s London Designer Label Biba. I love the aesthetic of Biba, Halston and DVF. Simple, elegant, and pretty. Below is an image of my inspiration.

I started with Mccall’s M7802 view b and the only modifications that I made to the pattern was to use an a-line flare skirt from another pattern that didn’t have the princess lines and I slashed and spread and raised the sleeve cap in order to create the fullness at the shoulder. I used a moderate stretch crepe knit fabric that was fantastic for this project. It was easy to work with and had enough body to give the sleeves the structure that it needed to hold its shape. The only change I would make in the future is to add an invisible zipper to the back. The stretch knit isn’t that stretchy and a zipper would make it a little easier to get in and out of. Otherwise this is a super comfy dress to wear. I styled it very simply with a pair of nude colored platform peep toed platform stilettos and boho inspired earrings in a similar color as my shoes.

I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so that I can wear this dress. I love the way it looks with a natural leg showing. It’s a versatile LBD that I think could be worn to a church, a wedding or a cocktail party.

Well thats all for now! Until next time…..

DIY Knit Dress Using McCalls 7999

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.……” Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)

Hello Everyone!

It is my sincerest hope that you all have been approaching your new year with great expectation and a zeal to chase after your dreams. I’m super proud of myself as I walked into 2020 with a revived sense of purpose and a desire to approach each day focused and excited for where God is taking me. It hasn’t been easy and I had to make some life changes.

For one. I gave up coffee and sugar again and I feel so much better. I was developing a nasty caffeine addiction. I’ve given it up in the past but end up right back on the sauce. While I love my morning cup of coffee, I was using caffeine to give me energy so that I could get through my busy schedule. The caffeine and sugar highs were making it hard for me to focus, my stomach started to become bloated and I was starting to have mood swings.

So when my church went on our annual fast at the beginning of January and the list called for us to cut caffeine and sugar from our diet; I knew it was a help line from heaven to make the change I needed.

I did it gradually, but after 3 weeks, I knew I was in a good place. My mind is more focused and my body’s nervous system has quieted down. I feel less anxious. I’ve re-worked my schedule so that I’m not constantly running. If i’m feeling overwhelmed by teaching, business, ministry and family responsibilities, I take a small break on my light days. Even if it means taking a short nap. I started walking even in the cold weather. This year the winter has been mild. Our days have consistently been around 30 degrees. I bundle up real good and walk for 45 minutes. The walk gives me the boost I need but it also has done wonders to keep the winter blues away.

I’m super grateful for the shift. I am definitely finding my version of balance.

As for this week’s post. This is a long overdue review of McCalls 7999 view C. I made this dress back in November. I’ve worn it several times already and I even put out a sneak peak pic on my Instagram page last month. I’m just keeping it real with you all. (lol!) I looooooove! this pattern. This was such an easy make. I had the pattern cut, made a short waist adjustment and sewn within 2 hours. I sewed the entire dress with the exception of the collar using the flat construction method on my serger. I love flat construction when it makes sense to use it. Especially when sewing knits on my serger. It speeds things up as you sew and finish your edges at the same time.

The pattern is straight forward and beginner friendly. There are only 4 pattern pieces and I cut it for a size Large. My short waist adjustment and taking out another 1 inch of ease at the waist was the only fit adjustments that I needed to make. I used a medium weight moderate stretch knit. from Joann Fabrics. It was on a 70% off clearance corner. I think I paid a total of $12 for about 3 yards of fabric.

I love it because it’s warm and all I need is to put on some control top black tights for shaping, smoothing and extra warmth underneath. I decided to keep it on a street style vibe and wore my black patent leather platform oxfords and statement earrings. I’ve also worn it with a black leatherette jacket to add a little bit of interest and layering for colder weather.

Well… that’s all for now! Until the next time.

2019: My Life In Review

and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)

Hello Everyone!

After watching everyone post their top (9) 2019 posts on Instagram; I felt inspired to go ahead and post my own 2019 makes in review. Truthfully, 2019 has been a year of closure for me on many levels. The last decade has been filled with so many ups and downs.

The birth of my second child in 2010, followed by my marital split and moving in with my parents in 2012. The divorce in 2014, My many business successes and failures, purchasing my first car in my name in 2015 (my ex-husband bought my previous car), graduating from Fashion Design School in 2017, purchasing my first house, my second car and blog launch in 2018. Lets not forget landing my dream teaching job in 2019 at Mount Mary University. Not to mention the enormous level of personal and spiritual growth that i’ve gained over the years. Let’s just say, that I have definitely been living my life.

I don’t think that I intentionally, approached 2019 with a plan for closure. Instead, I found myself in places where I had to deal with some unresolved issues that were hindering my growth as a woman with purpose. The low self-esteem and body image issues, the fear and anxiety about being a single parent, the anger and unresolved feelings towards my ex-husband are just a few things that I had to come to terms with. I believe that God opened the door for me to look at my life in review. In those candid moments I was able to mostly pray and journal about it. Coupled by a few spiritually healthy people who lent an ear and prayer to me. Little by little I found myself getting free.

Even my confidence as a sewer, designer and instructor grew. What I love about my makes this year is that I found myself willing to experiment. To work through the sewing and design process. As the year progressed, I could feel not only my spirit getting free, but my design process became less cluttered. It is becoming easier for me to express myself creatively. Even when I make something that I don’t initially like, I still find a way to wear it. Which is liberating. Before i’d get down on myself about it, toss it or give it away. I even purged my fabric stash. I used what I liked and donated what didn’t work. I started to buy only when I had a clear vision in mind. Even my recent fabric haul at Joann fabrics was purposed. I had a clear idea of what I wanted to make with everything that I bought.

So what can you expect to see from me in 2020….? I see this new decade as a great new beginning for me and my family. You can expect to see the fruit of all that is new coming into my life. I know that sounds incredibly vague and deep at the same time (lol!). In all seriousness though, I am still planning out the details, but its the truth. I believe there is so much greatness getting ready to penetrate my life that i’m going to be able to share it with everyone that God connects me to.

What about you all…..? What was 2019 like for you? What are you most looking forward to in 2020….? I would love to hear about it and be in prayer with you. I wish God’s greatest blessings for you all in 2020. Happy New Year!

Until next time……..

DIY knit Velvet top using McCalls M7722

“With all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another in [unselfish] love. Make every effort to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace [each individual working together to make the whole successful].”

Ephesians 4:2-3

Hey Everyone!

I’m back! I thought I was just taking off August but life decided differently. Teaching 2 university design courses on top of family and ministry responsibilities was way more than I thought it was going to be.

I finally found a moment to catch my breath and re-work my schedule to include blogging again. The great thing is that I still have been able to find some sewing time at least 1-2 days a week. Woohoo! Sewing is my therapy.

This week’s make is one of a series of velvet knit tops that I’ve made this fall. I didn’t intentionally plan it that way. It was based more on fabric selection at my local Joann store. I will say this though. I used to hate sewing with knits. And 3 -4 knit shirt projects in and I’m over it! I absolutely love sewing with knits now!

For this top I used McCall’s 7722 view C. I hacked this pattern last year for my asymmetric peplum top w/ tutorial.

This was an easy straight forward pattern that didn’t require much fitting. However I lost about 20 pounds since the last time I made this top and I needed to take it in at the side seam and hip.

What I didn’t do on this project but did make the modification for the next time I make it, was to shorten at the waist. I’m short waisted and there was some bagging around my waist line at both front and back. I fixed most of it by taking in the waist at the side seams. Only because I had cut into the fabric before I realized it. Overall I’m happy with the fit.

The only design modification that I made was to turn the neckline into a mock turtleneck by raising the neckline a little bit and using a collar from another knit top pattern that I had.

I styled this top with a pair of black fitted straight leg pants, black pumps and a pair of bold yellow earrings. I love this pairing as it’s figure flattering and allows the top to shine.

Well that’s all for now. Until next time….

OOTD: Thrift The Look: Boyfriend Jeans and boxy blazers

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Hey Everyone!

I hope all is well.  My apologies for the late post.  My week has been a bit hectic.  I dropped my kids off to their dad for the summer over the weekend and then ended up with a mild summer cold.  So i’ve been nursing it while trying to get work done. But i’ve also fallen behind a bit on my blog posts.

Inspiration

This week’s thrift the look inspiration was a street style blazer look that I came across on Pinterest.  I love a great blazer with jeans. It’s easy to wear and is a go to favorite of mine when I need to look put together in a pinch.  Below are my inspiration photos.

Store Review

I love the laid back swag of these outfits.  In order to create my version of this look I took to the Goodwill of Oak Creek.  It was my first time to this particular location.  I liked that it wasn’t a big store and that it was clean.  They had a decent selection of items for me to pull from.  I bought quite a few things actually.  I went on a Monday late morning and it wasn’t too crowded.  The store staff were polite as well.

Styling

My complete look from Head to Toe came from the Goodwill.  Outside of the grey blazer, everything I purchased was from my Goodwill of Oak Creek visit.  Below are the details.

Blazer: 9 West purchased last spring at another Goodwill

She t-shirt: Ny and Company purchased at Goodwill of Oak Creek

Dark Wash Boyfriend Jeans: Ny and Company purchased at Goodwill of Oak Creek

Orchid Purple Suede Pumps: Guess purchased at Goodwill of Oak Creek (just a little tip.  when you purchase gently used shoes second hand.  I spray the insides with Lysol disinfecting spray. Before I wear them).

 

 

Well that’s all for Now.  Until next time…..

blog signature

DIY Linen Pants Using Simplicity 8389

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:” Ecclesiastes 3:1

Hello Lovelies!

I hope your week is going splendidly.  I’ve been breezing through my Sew Easy Sewing Makes for the summer series.  Its been such a breath of fresh air for me.  Not just because I’ve been flying through my projects list.  But also because its been really liberating my thought process around my personal style choices.

For a long time now i’ve been struggling between creating things that I deem wow and blog worthy vs. what is truly my personal style aesthetic.  Working through my fabric and pattern stash has given me a framework to focus my individual projects while forcing me to take an internal inventory.  And i’m realizing the following:

  1. Buying fabric is like clothes shopping.  You can sometimes purchase things that are a hit and sometimes its a miss.
  2. I have alot of  summer weight woven fabric in bright colors mostly from natural fibers like cotton.  (A lot of cotton.)
  3. I’m not challenging myself to my full potential.  I keep buying the same kind of fabric and choose the same kind of projects. Pants are a prime example.  I hate working through pants fitting issues.  So I tend to stick to making dresses or skirts.
  4. I want to make things that are really pieces that I can incorporate into my everyday life.  Whether they are wow to others or not.

Which leads me to today’s DIY project.  I bought Simplicity 8389 last summer because they seemed like an easy pull on pants pattern.  It has been lurking in my sewing room for a while and everytime I passed it, I would pick it up and look it over.  So finally about 3 weeks ago I decided to bite the bullet and try my hand at pants fitting again.

Fitting palazzo pants is much easier that fitting fitted pants.  I created one muslin before going into fashion fabric.  What I learned from the first fitting is that I didn’t like the rise of the pants.  On the model in the pattern envelope picture it looks like the pants are high waist.  But in reality they fit more like a mid-rise.  Below is a picture of me in the muslin. IMG_3045

On my curvy pear shape.  This isn’t a flattering cut for me in a palazzo pant.  So I made a few modifications which  I list below:

Modifications:

  • Raised the waistline 2 inches only at the side seams and back rise.  This made the pants high waist which is more flattering for my shape but it also added length to the back rise.  (I didn’t need to add to the front because it would have lengthened too much in the front.)
  •  Lengthened back crotch curve by 1in.  There was bunching at the bottom of my butt where the fabric curves into the crotch.  Which was an indicator that I needed to lengthen the crotch curve at the back.
  • The waistband was a bit of a challenge. For the following reasons:  a. The pattern itself was off by about 1.5 inches too short.  So I had to redraft the pattern to make sure it fit. And b. the back band did not stop at the side seams like in a traditional pant. It instead reach around to the front band at the princess lines.  Once I put the elastic in it caused a weird gathering and unflattering fit at the side seams. It gave me a bit of a muffin top.
  • I widened the waistband  from a 1.5″ wide band to be a finished width of 3″.  I also re-drafted the front and back bands to sew together at the side seams. This gave me a more flattering fit at the waist.
  • I took in 1 inch at both inseam and outer seam starting at the hip.  There was too much fabric in the leg.
  • The last thing I did was more out of trying to save my final project because the modifications created a great waistline, and fit in the seat. However, there was way to much room in the front rise.  So I opted instead to release the front pleats and convert the entire waistband to an elastic waistband instead of how the pattern was originally drafted and removed about 7 inches of ease from the front waistline.

My final is more of a wearable muslin.  Even with the emergency modifications there is about an 1.5″ of ease from the front crotch that needs to be removed.  However.  I really like the way they came out and wore them to church styled in the way they are featured below.  These pants have some great styling possibilities and i’ll be posting those as #OOTD on my Instagram page throughout the week. So stay connected.

Photo credits: My beautiful daughter Asabea..

Well that’s all for now! Until next time….

blog signature

 

 

DIY Crochet Super Scarf w/ free pattern

“Whoever pursues righteousness and love
    finds life, prosperity[a] and honor.” Proverbs 21:21 (NIV)

“Whoever pursues righteousness and love
    finds life, prosperity[a] and honor.” Proverbs 21:21 (NIV)

Happy! Happy! Happy! Wednesday to you all!

That is exactly how I have been feeling lately. Very happy! I walked into 2019 bursting with creative energy, renewed vision, focus and an immense amount of peace. God has been sooooo good ya’ll!

This week’s post is a quick one! I decided that one of the best ways to keep to my 2019 modest comsumerism goals was to organize my yarn and fabric stash. This not only helped me to be organized by it also rejuvenated my creativity. My first project is my go to yarn stash buster. A scarf. but not just any scarf…..

I created a crochet suuuuuuper scarf! using Bernat softee chunky yarn in the color teal. I’ve been wanting to make one of these 70s throwback scarves for sometime now but I really lacked the motivation to get it done. Reorganzing my stash gave me the motivation that I needed to get things going.

Its pretty and simple. I love the soothing but vibrant color of this yarn and wanted to create a fabric that had a lot of texture but wasn’t stiff and allowed the yarn color be the star of the show. The yarn recommended a size L/11 hook but I used a jumbo size Q crochet hook instead to help create drape and a single crochet stitch to create the simple textural fabric that I was envisioning.

This joker is suuuuuper long! With the fringe it barely touches the floor. I can wrap this around my neck twice and still have free ends that drape down from my shoulders. I also find that the color works not only with my coat for an outerwear accessory but i’ve been able to coordinate it with some of my day to day casualwear. Its been getting a workout this winter.

I whipped together a quick and easy pattern in case your looking to create your own super scarf below.

Pattern

Symbols and terms

SS=slip stitch

SC= single crochet

Hook= size Q

Yarn= super bulky size 6. I used Bernat Softee Chunky Yarn in the color teal.

Chain 26

Row 1= sc into the 3rd chain from hook. Sc into remaining chain stitches. Ch 2. Turn. (24 sc)

Row 2=ch 2. Sc into next sc and across the entire row. Ch 2. Turn. (24 sc).

Row 3-191: repeat row 2 throughout until you reach row 191 or your desired length.

Row: 191: sc across and ss into last sc. tie off and weave in tail end.

Fringe

Cut 36 strings of yarn double the size of your desired fringe length. For example: the fringe on my scarf are 5 inches long so I cut my yarn 10inches long. Take 2 strings and double them over by folding the yarn strings in half. Attach the fringe to the first and last rows. Inserting the fringe in every other stitch. You should have 9 fringe on each end.

And that’s it! Easy! Peasy!

Well thats all for now! Until next time……

xoxo,

Iris

 

 

 

2019: The Year of Modest Creative Consumption

“The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?  It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns.” Luke 12:42-43 (NIV)

Hey Everyone!

Happy New Year!  I know i’m late.  January is almost over.  I ran into the New Year with a project deadline for my clothing label Virtuous By Design and that meant I had to put a hold on the blog.  But! I am back and can I say that…. “I missed you all!”

I am also pleased to announce that there are going to be some changes coming this year.  One of the biggest ones being how I live out my modest life. When I first started this blog I really thought about modesty from a fashion and spiritual perspective.  That won’t change but what I am planning on incorporating is exploring the concept of modesty and faith through being resourceful.  Being modest in my creative consumption.

Specifically creating makes using existing fabric and patterns from my stash (as much as possible) , thrifting fabric instead of purchasing new fabric, upcycling and exploring new technique and crafts as a way to create versus running to the fabric store everytime I want to make a new project.  Living out a modest life by being resourceful and watching how much my family and I consume.

To be honest most of my stash fabric are a product of impulse buying anyway.  I really don’t like alot of what’s there or I haven’t taken the time to really imagine the possibilities.

I already started in a couple of ways.

1) I went through all of my yarn and needle craft supplies. I seperated them by weight and found all kinds of stuff.  From unfinished projects, little balls of scrap yarn, and packages of embroidery floss.  Not to mention the tangled yarn messes from not properly storing my stash.

2) I crocheted a hat and super scarf set using left over yarn from another project.  This is also my first project related blog post of the year.  ( I hope to post this week or next.  I haven’t been able to take any pictures).

3) Dusted off my knitting needles and started knitting a sweater using a combination of yarns from my stash that included unraveling a sweater vest that I never finished (because I really didn’t like it anyway).

4) Not crafting related but something that I have been doing since I moved into my new house  and will continue into 2019 is that I have gone back to scratch cooking.  I don’t even bother to buy junk snacks for the kids.  I make them things like healthy low-sugar muffins, encourage them to snack on fruits, veggies crackers/peanut butter etc,  and make sure to cook 3-4 meals a week and filling in the other days with leftovers.  It saves a ton on the grocery bill but also gives me an opportunity to make sure we eat everything that we buy. It also gives me an opportunity to teach my kids how to cook and about real food.

So there you have it.  The vision for the blog in 2019.  I can’t wait to start sharing my makes with you! What about you ..?  What are some of your 2019 creative goals?  I’d love to hear about them.

Until next time…..

xoxo,

Iris

Pattern Hack Tutorial: DIY Puff Sleeve Peplum Top Using McCalls 7722

You can download and print the free pdf illustrated copy of the tutorial 

“An excellent woman [one who is spiritual, capable, intelligent, and virtuous], who is he who can find her? Her value is more precious than jewels and her worth is far above rubies or pearls.”

Proverbs 31:10 (amp)

Hi Everyone!

Happy Hump Day! I want to thank everyone for all of your comments and kind words from yesterday’s post.  It always keeps me encouraged.  Today’s post is short and sweet. As I mentioned yesterday I created a pattern hack tutorial for the peplum portion of this top.  If you missed yesterday’s post you can catch up here.

img_0746

This was a fun make and creating the peplum wasn’t hard at all.  I basically created rectangles using my desired measurements and used the cut and spread method of patterning to create the fullness for the peplum.  You can download and print the free pdf illustrated copy of the tutorial by clicking on the link below.

Puff sleeve peplum top tutorial

If you make it and have questions feel free to reach out to me I’d love to help. And would love it even more to see your finished version.

That’s all for now.  I hope you have a great rest of your week. Until next time.

XOXO!

❤️ Iris

DIY Knit Asymmetric Peplum Top Using McCalls 7722

This top has so much drama with the sleeves and peplum and is so figure flattering. I was aiming for a chic street style vibe.

“And my God will liberally supply (fill until full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (amp)

Hello Everyone!

Happy Tuesday! I pray that God bless you all with an abundance of peace this week. I was so excited to share this week’s make with you that I decided to post it a day early!

I loooooove this top! I got the inspiration from one of my favorite designers Johanna Ortiz. I love her work and have been keeping up with her collections for the past year. Below is the inspiration piece

While I love it as is. It’s cold in Wisconsin already and I wanted to make something more weather appropriate and practical for my lifestyle.

So I got the idea to create a knit version using McCalls 7722 for the bodice and sleeves and self-draft the peplum pattern. I created a pattern hack tutorial for the peplum. It will be up on the blog tomorrow.

This is a really great pattern as is. It has a cropped and longer length option as well as a few sleeve variations. It comes together quickly and the fit is good. I used view (A) for the bodice because it’s cropped and view (D) for the sleeves. I cut the pattern size 18 and it fit perfectly.

The fabric is a black ponte knit that I picked up at Joann fabric. I love the feel of ponte. The rayon in the fabric gives it such a luxurious feel and great elasticity. I plan on buying more for a few other knitwear projects.

This top has so much drama with the sleeves and peplum and is so figure flattering. I was aiming for a chic street style vibe. I paired it with my skinny jeans, a black obi belt and added more drama with black Stiletto suede boots that I recently purchased from Forever 21.

Well that’s all for now. Until next time.

XOXO!

❤️ Iris